From all of us at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C., Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you and your family enjoy spending this time together.
Setting up a holiday custody schedule for your children can sometimes be as important as the physical custody schedule. This is especially true where a parent or both parents have very strong family traditions for certain holidays. First and foremost, you need to discuss a holiday schedule and be ready to talk it over with your kids. Keep in mind, however, that parents can be very creative with a holiday custody schedule.
You can choose to alternate holidays by year- meaning that one parent will have the children for that holiday in odd years, and the other will have the children on that same holiday in even years. You can also split the days for holidays instead of allowing each parent to have an entire day. For example, for Thanksgiving, one parent could have the children around lunchtime and the other could have them at dinnertime. This way, they can have a meal with both parents on the actual holiday. Or on Christmas, one parent can have the children for Christmas Eve, and the other can have Christmas Day. Or you could split Christmas Day in half and each parent gets half (with one parent getting the children on Christmas morning in evening years and the other getting them on Christmas morning in odd years).
Getting a defined custody schedule with respect to holidays is advantageous because it minimizes fighting around the holidays. You do not want your children associating certain holidays with feuding between their parents - so if this is all in writing and enforceable in a Pennsylvania court, then you can rest assured knowing that the fighting will hopefully be at a minimum.
What you have to remember when drafting a custody agreement is that YOU and your children's other parent have to follow this schedule every day and every holiday season. What works for you might not work for another set of parents or a different bunch of children. You have to sit down with your children's other parent and decide what will be best for your children.
If you have questions about drafting one of these agreements - contact our Western PA child custody attorneys today! We can assist you with drafting a custody agreement that will work for your family.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!